Saturday, May 5, 2007

Blogging and Its Many Benefits

An Essay
By Dawn Goldsmith

On April 30, I became a blogger. When I announced this phenomena to friends and writers, some frowned and said, "It is a time suck. I don't see why you would devote so much time to something that doesn't pay you."

I initially turned to blogging as a way of easing into opening my own website. I went through Google, my favorite seach engine, and set up my account at blogspot.
That's me:
It was fairly painless and with each posting I'm learning my way around, noticing more things I can easily do (like linking names of my recent clip articles to the url).

Google has all kinds of additional bells and whistles to add to my blogsite. Thanks to Gary Presley, I hooked up a 'hit counter' so I can gather data about who and how many are visiting my site. Gary may be experiencing more pain than I, since he's my go-to guy for blog site set up advice.

I managed to add a Google advertisement. It signifies an effort to earn a little bit off of the site. But so far, not one penny. So maybe that needs more attention and study.

Something unexpected began to happen when I started blogging.

The first word I wrote was 'synchronicity.' And I experienced synchronicity in my first blog. When I began writing about embracing change, the words came together to reflect the end of the month and beginning of the next. I was as surprised as anyone at how that blog came together. It was, as I had written in the blurb for my blog - magic.

I return again and again and stand a bit in awe that those were my thoughts and ideas. The second blog took a different course. This time it focused more on writing and how to overcome stifled creativity. Again, I surprised myself.

Who knew I could write that kind of stuff. Well, it is true that pre-blog era, I spend most of my time surfing and answering emails or working on a specific assignment. I haven't made time for 'free' writing for a long time. That was part of the advice I shared in this second blog: Timed writings.

After posting the blog, I let it ferment a little and returned to it. "I think I can sell this," I said out loud. Then I sent it out as a submission.

The editor accepted it that same day.

So, the blog site itself has not brought me any money per hit, nor attracted any editors to beg me to write for them. But it has given me a daily deadline to write whatever I want and that has been a priceless perk. Plus, I'm writing saleable items, maybe that's the best gift of all.

Dawn Goldsmith is a long-time member of The Internet Writing Workshop who has been published in major media. You can see samples of her personal essays here in the Christian Science Monitor and here in Spacewatch, a publication of the Space Foundation.

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